5 Anti-Racist Actions for White People to Take During COVID — 19

B&W image of people holding protest signs. Words across image: “Five anti-racist actions for white people during covid-19”
  1. Join a group or deepen your commitment to one. Individualism is what got us into this situation, and only collective action will create the solutions we need. Now more than ever, we must take action together to force systemic change. Join your local SURJ chapter, or other groups in your community that push systems (like the local, state and federal government) to protect and care for the most vulnerable, especially in these times.
  2. Support efforts in your community to get people out of jails and detention centers, and to stop local police from issuing new citations, incarcerating people pre-trial, and re-incarcerating people for probation/parole violations. Sign up for SURJ’s action updates on how you can take action from your home on these issues. Follow organizations that are leading on this issue, and find the groups in your community such as Color of Change, Dignity and Power Now, Justice LA, and Women on the Rise. If you’re a member of a group that doesn’t usually focus on these issues, bring them to their attention and encourage them to make these actions a priority. Here’s just one take on why this is so important.
  3. Interrupt racist stories about who is to blame. Push back on people who use coded or racist language to talk about this moment. Specifically, when you hear people use the phrases “Chinese virus,” “Wuhan virus” and “Kung flu,” have a respectful and clear conversation about the racist and factually incorrect nature of this harmful scapegoating. Check out these stories about the increase in hate crimes against people of Asian descent here, here and here. Where we get our news is important. It shifts the frame of the issues. Pay attention to progressive-leaning news sources rather than only the corporate news media. Some examples include Democracy Now and the Irresistible Podcast. Seek out articles written by disabled & Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous and People of Color activists in your community.
  4. Fight to protect our elections. Events across the country are being cancelled or postponed, and in many locations, governments are implementing “shelter in place” recommendations or requirements. As a result, many states are taking measures to postpone elections rather than finding creative ways, like mail-in ballots, to ensure our democratic freedom while adhering to the public health guidance. Meanwhile, the upcoming election still needs our attention. We still need to mobilize millions of voters across the country to vote against Trump. You can help by getting involved in your local progressive campaigns and/or calling and texting white voters in Georgia and Pennsylvania with SURJ. A simple first step is to take the Collect Our Cousins Pledge. If you are part of a local SURJ chapter, encourage members of your chapter to sign on to the Commitment Form.
  5. Participate in a mutual aid project or fund. If you are able, donate money to a mutual-aid fund or initiate mutual aid with your immediate neighbors. Mutual-aid funds link people with resources to those who need resources during a crisis. This can help cover costs of rent, medication, food, and other needs for people who lack a safety net. If you have a surplus of food or hygiene supplies, donate to a mutual aid group, food pantry, or a community organization that is distributing goods to vulnerable people in your community. (Please be sure that they NEED what you have — don’t assume!). Practice mutual aid by reaching out to three people on your street. Give them your contact info and let them know you can call each other to ask for help with groceries, prescriptions, etc. Here’s a template if you need a starting point. Join with local grassroots POC-led organizing for mutual aid in your area or follow your local SURJ chapter for ideas.

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